Big mountain challenge in aid of vital vision charity

Optometrist Marie-Therese Hall will attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in a charity expedition in June. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Optometrist Marie-Therese Hall will attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in a charity expedition in June. Picture by Jane Coltman.

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A woman who works in Morpeth will attempt to reach the highest peak in Africa to support a charity that helps people in developing countries.

The expedition team for Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, which is 5,895m high, will include Boots Opticians in Morpeth’s practice manager Marie-Therese Hall. It will take place over 10 days in June.

It is being organised by colleagues at Boots Opticians through Global Adventure Challenges and all funds raised will go to Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), which works in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Zambia, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone.

Marie-Therese, who is based at the Boots Opticians branch in Bridge Street, worked with the charity in 2014 when she and five other optometrists travelled to Zambia.

They spent two weeks providing eye tests in a few different communities and did training workshops for nurses and clinical officers.

She said: “When I found out about the trek, I was keen to sign up because VAO is a charity close to my heart and this is a great chance to support it further.

“It will be the first time I’ve been up a big mountain and I know it’s going to be a big challenge, but I’m really looking forward to the expedition.

“A total of 670 million people worldwide are disabled or disadvantaged because they suffer from an avoidable eye disease, or because they don’t have access to eye care or glasses.”

“I’ve spoken to a few people who have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and I’ve received some useful advice from them about what I can expect during the trek.

“Family members, friends and colleagues are being very supportive and there is a collection box in store for customers and residents to make donations.”

A range of activities for VAO will take place between now and June. The charity fights poverty by helping to give people in developing countries access to eye care.

Marie-Therese thanked Boots Opticians colleagues in Blackpool for joining her in running a 10k in the town as part of her fund-raising.

You can donate online at www.justgiving.com/mtclimb or you can text MTHA55 followed by your amount to 70700.